Thursday, 30 March 2006

wrong footed

I would have thought that I would have made pretty much all the mistakes it was possible to make by now and would therefore be quite adapt at the living in the woods thing by now. I have been living in the wild for 9 months and 30 days now, that's plenty long enough to learn how to live out doors. Yesterday started off quite well, actually it didn't but I can't really tell that story in case the wrong person reads this blog entry and finds out what really happened. So let's stick with the yesterday morning going well and nothing untoward happening at all, I would like to add, just in case, that it was like that when I found it, not that I was there of course.

I work in two different buildings in two different parts of London, this causes problems sometime. Today for instance I am working in the building I don't normally work in, I have a suit here but it was necessary for me to bring a shirt and shoes. On Tuesday I managed to forget to bring shoes and so I spent the day strolling about in a suit and trainers, not quite the look that people expect. I had to make a special effort to make sure that I had everything for today; unfortunately all my shirts are at the dry cleaners and will not be ready until this afternoon. Yesterday lunch time I went out to buy a new shirt so that I would have one for today, I was a bit annoyed about this as I don't really want any more shirts. The problem I faced was how to get the shirt from one side of London to the other via a night in the woods without getting it creased. Stuffing it in my backpack would not be conducive to a neat and tidy appearance the next day so I decided to wear it home, hang it up from a tree when I got there, and then wear it to work the next day. I have to say that plan does have an element of genius to it and I have to say that this is not where my error lay, I am sitting here (erm on a lunch break or something) wearing a perfectly respectable shirt, it is even dry now.

I believe that where I went wrong might have been in the getting a bit carried away with the "it being spring now" thing. I decided to cut back on what I took with me into the woods as I had a sleeping bag hidden away for emergencies; it is not a nice thick winter but a summer one. The bivi bag (waterproof sack that goes around sleeping bag and me) was left around my winter sleeping bag which was cunningly stored under my desk. I also had left a piece of tarpaulin cut to size to shelter under; well it's cut to a size, just not necessarily the right size. Were I a foot or two shorter that bit of tarpaulin would be perfect. So last night I set off with the following

1 x Toothbrush
1 x Toothpaste
1 x Razor
1 x Spring (joy of)
1 x packet spare Razorblades
1 x Book
1 x Empty crisp packet – being used as bookmark (classy)
1 x packet soup
1 x pair Board Shorts (shorts worn whilst surfing)
1 x Pen
1 x Notebook
1 x pair smart black Shoes (learned from my mistakes I do)
1 x T Shirt

Now you might think that a night in the woods in March would require something other than shorts, T shirt and black brogues; you might even think it would be a rather good idea to take a coat. You would be right. By the time I had walked to from the bus to the place where I had hidden the sleeping bag I was soaked to the skin, when I set off the idea of getting wet was not so bad, after all it was relatively warm, the reality of being wet was less good. I put up a quick ‘shelter’ made from the piece of tarp and stretched out the sleeping bag, I had to make a decision about which end of me I wanted to get wet whilst I slept and I chose feet. I got out of my wet jeans and rolled them up to use as a pillow and then decided to put my board shorts on. Next I had to take my shirt off so it would not get creased as I slept, this could not be hung up as I had planned – it was pouring with rain – so I folded it and put it on top of my bag under the ‘shelter’. Then I put my T shirt on and my wet sweatshirt back on top of that, soon the wetness from the sweatshirt began to permeate my T shirt. I went to bed. I was most surprised when I woke up to find that not only were my legs wet from having been stuck out of the bottom of the ‘shelter’ but my top half was also. Sadly I was in a bit of a rush so I did not get the opportunity to investigate quite how this had happened. I had stuff to do such as, put on cold wet jeans, take off warm wet t shirt, put on cold wet (un-creased) shirt and put on wet socks.

Tonight I are be mostly taking waterproof stuff with me.

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